Patterson: Aztecs’ aerial attacks to be Frogs’ biggest challenge

Following the football team’s first loss of the season at the hands of the now-No.1 Oklahoma Sooners, the team will return to conference play tomorrow against the San Diego State Aztecs.

“We are 4-1,” head coach Gary Patterson said. “It would have been different if we would have lost to just some school down the street, but we lost to the No. 2 and eventual No. 1 team in the nation. I’m not ready to go panicking. They have good football players, have won national championships and more Big 12 titles than anyone else.”

The Frogs opened the season with a 26-3 conference win on the road over the University of New Mexico before going 3-1 against their nonconference opponents.

“We have to understand that part of the season is done, and now our focus is on a Mountain West Conference championship,” Patterson said.

San Diego State head coach Chuck Long brings an Oklahoma connection to the game. He served as the passing game coordinator and quarterback coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator during his six-year Sooner tenure between 1999 and 2005. He was part of the Sooners 2000 national championship campaign, as well as three Big 12 championships.

“Everything that Oklahoma knows, he knows,” Patterson said. “I think each of us has an advantage, but they are different. They haven’t run the ball as much as Oklahoma does. Our whole game plan was that we didn’t want OU to run the ball, and they didn’t.”

The Frogs held the Sooners to 25 yards on the ground but will have to improve on the 411 yards allowed through the air before they take on a San Diego State team that has thrown the ball 66 percent of the time. Of the career-high mark by Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, 218 yards came on the Sooners four passing touchdowns.

The aerial attack of the Aztecs is led by redshirt freshman Ryan Lindley. He’s compiled 1199 yards and eight touchdowns in four games this season.

“He’s going to be another in a line of great San Diego State quarterbacks,” Patterson said. “He’s 6-foot-3, can run a little bit and he’s got a good arm. He’s throwing for over 300 yards a game right now. We’ve got our hands full. We’ve got to be better this week. The best way to beat the passing game is to score points.”

The Horned Frogs went on the road last season to defeat the Aztecs 45-33.